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English Premiership

Life at top stuns Arsenal boss Wenger


Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger instructs his team during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Everton at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 24, 2015 (AFP Photo/Justin Tallis)

LONDON, October 25 – Arsene Wenger admits he did not expect his Arsenal side to find themselves top of the Premier League table ten games into the season.

Wenger’s side moved above Manchester City following their 2-1 victory over Everton, with City due to face Manchester United later Sunday.

And having seen his side beaten by West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium on the opening day of the season, the Arsenal manager conceded his side have exceeded expectations at the end of what the manager described as a “perfect week”.

The win made it three victories in seven days for the Gunners after beating Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road last Sunday before defeating Bayern Munich in the Champions League midweek.

“It is a perfect week and it’s not easy to have that. The only negative is that we lost some players through injuries during the week,” said Wenger.

“Now we have to keep our togetherness, concentration and humility, try to play better football game by game and focus on that in training as well.”

He added: “I thought after 10 games, no, honestly (we wouldn’t be top).

“I thought it would take much longer because Manchester City started with five wins so it was difficult to envisage that we would come back but we had no choice.

“Last season after 10 games there was a big difference between the top teams and us — today no. Let’s continue to work together and continue to improve.

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He added: “After the first game against West Ham nobody would have predicted this. That shows that we rely on our attitude, our togetherness and our desire to do well.

“It is very early in the season but we are happy to be where we are.”

First half goals from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny put Arsenal in control before Ross Barkley gave Everton hope immediately before the interval.

Everton’s defeat came at the cost of an injury to Phil Jagielka and manager Roberto Martinez fears the England defender could have suffered a serious knee injury after being forced out of the game early in the second half.

And the Everton manager criticised Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the challenge that led to his captain being sidelined.

Martinez said: “It will take 48 hours to find out but it is not good, clearly. Phil Jagielka never leaves the playing field.

“It is a problem in his right knee and we don’t know at this point the extent. Some of the structure is going to be damaged but we don’t know what it is.

“It is the biggest negative to lose Phil Jagielka in such a stupid challenge because the referee has already awarded a free-kick and it was an unnecessary challenge.

“It was needless from Oxlade-Chamberlain. He puts his foot up when the referee has already given the free-kick.

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“It is an unfortunate action, not malicious or with intent but when you are looking at an incident as a manager and it happens after the referee has given a free-kick, it is disappointing.”

Martinez insisted his side, who are now in 10th spot, had only themselves to blame for allowing Arsenal to take control of the game.

“We switched off and were loose to concede the first, then to concede the second from a set-piece was hurtful as Arsenal are a phenomenal football team but not known for set-pieces.

“You go one down and then you shoot yourself in the foot.”

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